Sunday, 24 July 2011

Weather to Harvest? That IS The Question

Well, I am a bit late in updating our harvest progress on the blog this year.  We started cutting winter barley on the 12th July on some very light, ex sand and gravel land, according to Tim who drives the combine it was the earliest he can remember starting harvest.  The yield held up well considering the very dry spring that we had.  In the poorest areas of the field the straw was only at 30cm tall!  In a normal year it could be at least 80cm.  The good news is that the people we are growing it for like the sample, it has passed their germination and admixture standards and they are happy to take it away for seed.  It will be cleaned, processed and sold to other farmers as Volume, a winter feed variety.  After the start on barley we had a few days off and then moved into some winter oilseed rape.  The first variety to be harvested was Excalibur and I am staggered with the yield we have been achieving. 
The combine has had the yield monitor calibrated with a weighed load, over a local weighbridge, and I am very pleased, actually gobsmacked with the results!  Some of the best fields seem to be averaging about 5T/Ha.  There will obviously be some losses over the cleaner and then through the drier but considering the year and lack of rainfall it is a pleasing start to harvest.
The current problem we are facing is finding crops that are ready to combine.  All of the crops have been dessicated i.e. sprayed off to kill the stems and the leaves.   There is a very precise timing for this and it usually means that harvest can begin in about 18 days after spraying.  I think the cooler weather (prior to now) has meant that the glyphoste has been slow to work on the crops.  The weather is lovely here at the moment and so there is pressure to be cutting something, we still have a lot of crops ahead of us and you never know when the rain willl return.
After the grain has been separated, from the straw, leaves, pods and stems in the combine the MOG, (Material Other than Grain) is chopped up at the back of the combine.  This organic matter is then spread over the width of the header (9m) before being incorporated.

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